If the Jekot family were playing a game of Bingo, they’re at B-I-N.
The family added another member to its burgeoning Big 5 family Sunday when the third sister, Julie, committed to La Salle. The Cumberland Valley junior’s pledge to the Explorers gives the Jekots three sisters on three different Division I schools in Philadelphia’s storied Big 5 — eldest Kelly just finished her degree early at Villanova, where she will play one more season, and the second, Katie, is a redshirt-sophomore at St. Joseph’s.
— Julie Jekot (@juliejekot) September 7, 2019
The familial dynasty won’t be able to finish this unique Bingo game, though, with just four children. And the youngest daughter of John and Jennifer Jekot, Jillian, has a few years to decide her collegiate athletic future as an eighth grader in the CV school district. Perhaps Temple or Penn will land the final sibling in a few years.
“I think it’s personally really cool,” Julie said Monday about the unique Big 5 connection in the family, which also includes her grandfather, himself a La Salle graduate. “I’m really close with my sisters.”
If all goes according to plan, Julie will get potentially four games to play big sis Katie — who has battled Kelly a few times already in college — while they overlap for two years as Big 5 and Atlantic-10 Conference rivals.
“I always looked up to my sisters. Yeah, I talked to them about it, but ultimately I made my decision,” Julie said. “I saw them go through [the recruiting process], so I knew [how I wanted it to go].”
Julie said she had offers from La Salle, Manhattan College and Fordham, which were her top choices ultimately, with interest from Columbia, St. Joe’s, St. Francis, Loyola and others.
She chose the Explorers because of the coaching staff and players, the business school she plans to take classes in and the proximity to family, both in Cumberland County and the City of Brotherly Love.
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She was particularly drawn to Philly because of her sisters’ recruiting. Philly has become almost a second home to Julie, she said, and she knew from the beginning — her recruitment ramped up her sophomore year — she wanted to play in a city near home like Philly, New York or Baltimore.
Julie was thankful for the help of her family, CV head coach Bill Wolfe and her AAU team, the Comets. She’s obviously thankful to La Salle, particularly head coach Mountain MacGillivray, for the opportunity.
“They really liked how competitive I was,” said Julie, who projects as a shooting guard or wing player at the next level.
“There’s like an energy. I don’t know how to explain it. Everyone was, like, so close, and everyone was very welcoming.”
MacGillivray enters his second year in charge of the Explorers after nine seasons at Quinnipiac. La Salle went 6-25 last season and is searching for its first winning season since 2016-17 when it went 17-13. The Explorers have not made the WNIT or NCAA Tournament since 1991-92 under John Miller.
La Salle is two years away, though. Julie still has unfinished business with the Eagles.
Last year, she joined her sisters by winning CV’s third District 3 title in the past five years. She averaged a team-high 10.3 points along with 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game as CV beat Dallastown 33-27 for the district championship, then advanced to the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs.
The Eagles return a notable amount from last year’s championship team. The only key rotation players that departed for graduation were Linda Leitzel and Kennedy Kuffa. Jekot, Kylie Holcomb, Hannah Sauve, Samantha Murphy, Abbie Miller and Courtney Campbell all averaged at least 10 minutes and were underclassmen last year. They figure to be a District 3 contender once again and perhaps be in play for a fourth PIAA title this decade.
“Oh, yeah,” Julie said. “I’m really excited [for this season].”